After three months from the living room, this Memorial Day weekend marked our little community’s final service as a house church. An event I trust will stand as one more stone of remembrance on the sojourn. I look here at the faces of my friends, our family, and see volumes of life, depth, wisdom, sacrifice, resilience, and love, God has brought forth in each of them over the past dozen weeks. I see anticipation and preparation in their hearts and minds as a team desperate to serve Jesus and others, but I also see sweet reverence for a time and space that has been held sacred in its fleeting. I can’t help but marvel at how God is already organically grafting so many others into our fold. The post-service laughter and conversations of a house full, spilling out of the open door as our team of six grabbed this quick photo, reminds me of His great Love for those willing to seek, chase and knock. He places us in families. And there is a growing family in West Knoxville.
We knew this was only temporary – the Living Room Sundays – but with every passing week I found myself resolute to soak in the entirety of the experience. Each worship service became another line etched in memory’s stone – pressed in close on a heart tender, watching God show up big in our small. And I never want to forget… The grand scale rearrangement of furniture and many hands of all ages at work, finding their unique place of service each weekend. Worship rehearsals amidst floor mopping, folding chair placement and the cleaning of breakfast dishes. The beautiful, brave new faces walking through the front door, the ones we stood around the kitchen counter and prayed over- the once unknown, but now called “friends.” There was the constant trail of toys we did our best to contain and the mound of little shoes heaped together by the stairs.
May time preserve Sunday’s sounds from the past three months- the coffee pot beeping its cycle complete during a quiet prayer, the clamor of children worshipping and playing upstairs, the occasional neighbor’s lawn mower. I want to always remember closing my eyes and listening as together we sang; how each individual voice could be distinguished from within the chorus of worship – their faces coming to mind, moving me to tears as I witnessed the sacrifice of praise rising up from every soul and hovering over us right there around the ceiling fan. Don’t let me forget…
We have lived full – been fed well on grace in the living room. And just as with our time in middle Tennessee before, we venture now on to the next chapter – going out with joy and being led forth in peace. As we travel the couple mile stretch down Northshore Drive to our new meeting space and listen close, we will hear the mountains and hills breaking forth in song and all the trees clapping their hands* – pushing our growing band of ragamuffin disciples on with new mercy and strength for all the Sundays beyond the Living Room.
*Isaiah 55:12 (paraphrased)
*If you or someone you know is looking for a church community in the Knoxville, TN area, we would love to connect with you. Feel free to comment or message me personally or you can also check out the Grace Chapel Knoxville website.